Oh, Yeah. Then there’s This
February 16, 2017
NCSE is pleased to announce the winners of the Friend of the Planet award for 2017: CLEAN, the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network, which provides a curated collection of resources on climate and energy science and coordinates a professionally diverse network of climate change education stakeholders; Peter Sinclair, the founder of the ClimateCrocks.com website and producer of the Climate Denial Crock of the Week video series; and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, which researches and develops strategies for effective climate change communication.
“All of the Friends of the Planet for 2017 shine as climate communicators, in different but complementary ways,” Reid explained. “CLEAN is the single best resource for teachers out there, while Peter Sinclair’s sharply satirical and scientifically rigorous videos are a constant delight. And the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication provides a steady stream of important research and thoughtful analysis that nobody interested in engaging the public about climate change can afford to ignore.”
The Friend of Darwin and Friend of the Planet awards are presented annually to a select few whose efforts to support NCSE and advance its goal of defending the teaching of evolution and climate science have been truly outstanding. Previous recipients of the Friend of Darwin award include Barbara Forrest, Philip Kitcher, Zack Kopplin, and Patricia Princehouse. Previous recipients of the Friend of the Planet Award include Richard Alley, Greg Craven, and Katharine Hayhoe.
Midland videographer Peter Sinclair has spent a decade following climate scientists in Universities, at scientific conferences, and in extreme environments from the Cascade Glaciers to the Greenland Ice Sheet. He’s learned the fine details of the science, become recognized as one of the world’s foremost climate change explainers – and along the way, he’s been a thorn in the side of some of the globe’s most stubborn deniers of climate science – including President Trump’s favorite news service, Steve Bannon’s Breitbart.The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) this week named Sinclair, as a “Friend of the Planet”, an annual award, that is shared this year by CLEAN, the Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network, which provides a curated collection of resources on climate and energy science and coordinates a professionally diverse network of climate change education stakeholders, and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, which researches and develops strategies for effective climate change communication.
The life-long Midlander launched “Climate Denial Crock of the Week”, a You-tube based video series, in 2009, to combat what he calls “Climate Crocks”. Climate Crocks, according to Sinclair, are “..those crunchy nuggets of distortion and disinformation that are crafted specifically for Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity to repeat in 15 seconds, but often require an hour for a real climate scientist to explain.”
“I thought with my background as a videographer, animator, and cartoonist, and my understanding of environmental issues from a lifetime of study, that I might be able to help Scientists fight back, especially on the internet.”Soon after, Sinclair developed a blog of the same name, at http://climatecrocks.comTo get up the steep learning curve of climate science, Sinclair started cultivating relationships with climate scientists. “I have sought out the leading people – those with 20, 30, and more years of field experience – what I call “boots on the icecap” scientists – dedicated, full-time working, publishing PhD scientists at the top agencies, NOAA, NASA, The American Meteorological, Physical, and Geological Societies, the top Universities. They now number in the hundreds.”
“I’ve challenged them to explain the tough science ideas to me in language that I can understand, and pass along to others. Along the way, they’ve become my teachers, my mentors, and in many cases, my friends.”In 2012, Sinclair was invited to produce another monthly video series, which he titled “This is Not Cool”, thru the Yale Climate Connections blog. There are now many hundreds of videos in Sinclair’s total output, and he has gone on to present at leading scientific gatherings, as well as Universities, Corporations, and civics groups throughout Michigan and as far away as the University of Iceland.In making this year’s award, the NCSE noted, “Peter Sinclair’s sharply satirical and scientifically rigorous videos are a constant delight.”In 2013, Sinclair was invited by Dr. Jason Box of the Danish Geological Survey to follow and work with scientists on the Greenland ice sheet, ground zero for global warming and sea level rise. The two formed an international, crowd-funded, science communication team, which Dr. Box christened “Dark Snow Project”. Sinclair has been in Greenland every summer since, raising travel funding online thru his blog.Sinclair says his proudest moment in the last year was came when the Breitbart website, then run by current White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, attacked one of his videos.
“I did a pretty good job of shredding one of climate denial’s favorite pet myths, and apparently Mr. Bannon was upset, and immediately assigned a writer to attack the piece.”
“The best critique they could come up with was the video was “well produced..and cleverly constructed to look measured and reasonable” – a pretty good description of what I aim for in my work – So I’m happy they got that right.”Sinclair went on to present that video at the world’s largest gathering of Earth, Ocean and Space Scientists – the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco, in December, where it was warmly received.Peter Sinclair photo and bio resources hereSinclair’s most recent “This is Not Cool” video has just been released:“This is Not Cool” Playlist here“Climate Denial Crock of the Week” PlaylistGuardian article on Dark Snow Project